By Dan Kenney
DEKALB, Ill. — Friday, Oct. 7, about 50 people gathered in DeKalb’s Memorial Park to announce the September jobs statistics. It was also a rally of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement that is taking place in more than 150 cities and towns across America and around the world.
The following statement was read:
“The latest job numbers released today show a nation stuck on a downward path. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs. However, a closer look at this figure reveals that 45,000 of those jobs were telecommunication workers of Verizon returning to work after the end of their strike. Thus, in reality, given the fact that the U.S. needs to add a minimum of 125,000 jobs a month just to maintain ‘employment equilibrium,’ we are actually 100,000 jobs short of what is needed for September.
“According to the Economic Policy Institute economist Heidi Shierholz, at the current rate of job creation, ‘the unemployment rate will soon begin to rise again.’
“26 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work. The number of long-term jobless is now 6.2 million, and climbing — that is 44.6 percent of the total unemployed.”
The rally also brought attention to the fact that 10 years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had cost the citizens of DeKalb more than $143 million as well as costing the 16th Congressional District more than $4 billion. Attendees were asked to consider how many jobs that money may have created if it had been invested at home. Especially since a recent bi-partisan report by Congress has shown that $36 to $62 billion has been wasted in the wars or been stolen by contractor fraud. The report also revealed that hundreds of millions actually fell into the hands of the Taliban.
The top 1 percent controls more than 40 percent of the wealth in the nation. And while large banks and multi-national corporations are sitting on more than a trillion in cash, the unemployment rate remains unchanged. In fact, John Deere announced last week it was building two new factories in Brazil, and in April of this year, CAT announced it was building three new factories in China.
The organizers of the event asked those present to keep the conversation going by discussing the issues with family and friends.
The rally was organized by the Rebuild the American Dream DeKalb County, Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice, and the DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Social Justice.
From the Oct. 12-18, 2011, issue